Do you Regret Voting for Brexit?
47% of 1,680 people who took part in a poll for the Times believe Brexit is wrong. The YouGov survey is the clearest example, since the referendum result in June 2016, of the majority of British voters regretting Brexit. The poll is the latest sign of how public opinion is now changing against Brexit as the reality of how difficult and damaging Brexit will be is becoming clearer.
The poll found that 86% of those who voted for Brexit believed that they made the right decision, while 7% thought they were wrong and another 7% said they didn’t know.
When they were questioned about the UK being correct to leave the EU, 49% of women voters believed that voting for Brexit was wrong, while 40% of them remained firm that the decision to leave the EU was correct. For women voters, then it is clear that leaving the EU was a bad decision.
The poll was conducted this week amid growing uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations and before Barnier’s statement that the discussions were at a standstill, with little, or almost no sufficient progress being made between the UK and EU officials. Public opinion in the UK of the government’s Brexit negotiations was indicative of the general disappointment, since the poll found that two thirds of those polled said the negotiations were going badly.
What does the EU think?
As British opinion over Brexit is changing so is that of the EU’s. The EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said that Brexit will take longer than both sides initially anticipated. Juncker echoed the YouGov’s poll findings, since he stated that British people were beginning to realise the “numerous disadvantages” of Brexit. Talking at the University of Luxembourg, Juncker reiterated his conviction that Britain should pay its financial obligations to the EU and compared Britain to a drinker who leaves his friends at the pub, refusing to pay his share: "Things have to be done, one has to deliver. If you’re sitting in a bar and if you’re ordering 28 beers and then suddenly some of your colleagues are leaving and they are not paying that’s not feasible.”
He expressed his disappointment and confusion on the issue of citizens’ rights, saying that the most logical thing is to leave their rights “as they are.” "The European foreigners, as they are staying in London, they are there on the island and so many British friends are here so let them here let them there. Why are we discussing nonsense like that?,” he said.
For him, the issue of rights was an irrefutable fact unrelated to Brexit: “Citizens have rights because they are citizens not because there is a Brexit issue which has to be discussed and so on and so forth. We cannot find for the time being a real compromise as far as the remaining financial commitments of the UK are concerned.”
The EU was not revengeful, but wanted to secure a good deal with the UK. Juncker said: "Brexit is a serious issue. It came now, unexpected but not totally unexpected. Now we have to deal with the results and the first to be impressed by the numerous disadvantages, the Brexit meaning Brexit is entailing, are the British. They are discovering as we are day after day new problems. That’s the reason why this process will take longer than initially thought. We had the idea that we would clear all the questions related to the divorce - it’s not possible. Citizens’ rights, yeah there we are making progress. I don’t even understand this problem why not say easily with common sense, which is not a political category as we know, that the things will stay as they are.”
Amidst laughter, he told his audience: "They have to pay, they have to pay. Not in an impossible way, I’m not in a revenge mood, I’m not hating the British. The Europeans have to be grateful for so many things Britain has brought to Europe during war, after war, before war, everywhere and every time, but now they have to pay."
But then, the whole Brexit thing was all about the British finding themselves a home and an identity, a place away from the EU that they could call home. Such a relocation, however, as it appears would be costly, and if we are to trust Juncker, the kindest of all European technocrats, we will indeed have to pay. Do you regret voting for Brexit or not?